So while the clip of that Miss Teen USA contestant sounding like an idiot was amusing, this article in today's New York Times is not.
This is mess. When you have 1/3 of high school students dropping out and another 1/3 not prepared for a job or college, the future is not looking good. If anything, the world is a lot more competitive than when our parents graduated from high school. There were great paying union jobs that would enable a one-income family of four to own a home, send kids to college and even take a vacation or two. Those days are over.
What is going to happen to America? We are the dumbest industrialized nation on the planet. Yes, several of our of colleges dominate the top 25 world wide (Havard, Yale, Stanford etc.) but this huge gap between those who go to college and those that do not cannot be a good thing. What can be done to fix education at the k-12 level? In Los Angeles over 50% of the students drop out. Who are employers going to hire if Jonny can't read?
On a related note there is a book "The Age of American Un-Reason" by Susan Jacoby that talks about the rise of anti-intellectualism in America. There has always been a strain of it but now we revel in it. 1/3 of Americans cannot name a basic right from the Bill of Rights. 25% of biology teachers think dinosaurs and humans shared the earth (maybe they should read instead of watching "Land of the Lost" re-runs). When I was younger I was so tired of hearing my West Indian relatives complain about American schools. I found it offensive and not true. I didn't realize I was growing up in a bubble. 97% of the kids from my graduating class went on to higher education. The rest had jobs. I thought that was the norm. It's not.
Jacoby puts the biggest blame for what is not going on in our culture on the over saturation of mass media and the rise of fundamentalist religion. She said this pride in knowing nothing important has dire consequences for our country, like in foreign policy for example. Jacoby argues Americans are not stupid as in we have less brain matter it's how we chose to use it. The avg American watches over 7 hours of TV in a 24 hour period. Let's think about that for a minute. That is an average number yikes.
I think balance is important. Hello, I make my living in pop culture (film/books) and also I need to know if Heidi and Spencer are really going to get their own show. Who would watch that? I don't blame L.C. for hating them. Audrina better watch her step, I don't trust Heidi. (for those not stateside...Heidi and Spencer want a spin off from the show "The Hills". I stumbled on a marathon one day when I was sick. Called my sister and said "Who the hell are these people and why are they on TV?" She ten years younger and knows what the young people are up too. She broke it down and then I got sucked in. Plus I used to see the "stars" in L.A. all the time)
Anyway, I hope as this cynical and nasty election in the U.S. wraps up, us voters can hear more about education and less about flag pins.